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Shopping at a mall, you wander into a shoe store where a pretty slick pair of cross training shoes intrigues you. With other errands to run in the center, you decide to hold off and give them some thought.
Continuing your outing, you walk into a jewelry store. Suddenly, the salesperson from the shoe store shows up and offers you an incentive to come back and buy them. Most people would consider this borderline stalking. Which is why it’s important for online merchants to understand how to conduct retargeting without being creepy.
What is retargeting?
Let’s say you looked at those shoes on the ‘net and decided to wait before ordering them. Opening your Facebook feed later, there’s an ad for the exact same pair of shoes.
Coincidence? Hardly. The seller is mounting a retargeting campaign.
A cookie deposited on your device when you were on the shoe site was triggered when you opened your Facebook account. Reminding you about the shoes gives the seller another shot at converting you into a buyer. However, as useful as this technique is, it walks a fine line between providing a valuable service and annoying people.
Here’s how to accomplish the former without inciting the latter.
Choose subjects carefully
Limit your campaign to people who spent a certain amount of time on your site, looking specifically at a particular item. These parameters can be established when you set up the campaign. Another benefit of this is you’ll only pay for impressions most likely to convert. If a shopper spent a lot of time looking at the product on your site but didn’t buy it, they’re probably interested; they just need a little push.
Choose subjects carefully
Regardless of the nature of your product, whether you’re learning how to sell ebooks on your own website, or selling cosmetics from home, your retargeting ad should be linked directly to the product page describing the item.
Don’t make customers dig around on your home page looking for the product. Take them directly to it and make sure the page has a “Buy Now” call to action button.
Keep the creative fresh
Sometimes, you might have to show customers the product two or three times before they return to your site to make the buy. Rather than showing them the same ad over and over again—which tells them they are being stalked—have a few different versions of the ad you can serve so it looks slightly different each time they see it. This will help you to preserve the illusion of happenstance.
Cap the number of views per user
Odds are, if you’ve shown them an ad three times and they still haven’t converted, they’re not going to do so. Continuing to serve them ads at this point is a waste of your budget and you should stop. Imposing an impression cap can save you money as well as help you avoid irritating a potential customer.
Bottom line: use sparingly
As useful as retargeting can be, it’s important to keep it holstered until it will do the most good. Just as a gunfighter only aims at someone they want to shoot, you should only retarget those who are most likely to buy.
Retargeting without being creepy requires choosing your subjects carefully, leading them exactly to where they can make the purchase, keeping your creative fresh and avoiding exposing the same ad to potential buyers too many times.
Get it right; you’ll see a definite uptick in your sales.
Get it wrong; you’ll become the latest social media pariah.